It hasn't even been a year, but I can just barely remember those first few weeks at home with Will, which is good, because what I do remember is that it was overwhelming and scary time for me. So whenever I know someone else is bringing their new baby home, all I want to do is surround them with encouragement and love. The number one way I try to do this is through prayer, and the second way is by giving them things. (In my opinion, presents are the best!) Whenever I was a new mom, our wonderful family and friends showed us love by bringing delicious meals and snacks for weeks. But I couldn't eat most of it because I was abstaining from dairy and soy because of Will's milks/soy protein allergy. And I've known other mamas who had to give up food like tomatoes, so even though my first inclination is always to make and bring food, I have tried to come up with ways to show my new mom friends some hospitality that involves something other than food.
1. If you live nearby and want to go all out, there is, of course, the Post-It Note Reception.
2. If you live far away, you can send books to the new family. Using Amazon, we just sent Dad is Fat, Baby 411, Not a Box, and Global Babies to Jason's good friends. For a personal touch, Amazon lets you right a note with each item. I addressed each note from William to the new baby with a funny message on how he could use the book.
3. If you are loaded, you could hire a night nanny for the family. If my mom hadn't spent the night with us a few times during that first week, I don't know if we'd all still be here. Also, that's what I would like with my next baby if you are taking notes.
4. If you are planning a visit, you can make up a hospitality basket. This combines food and drink with fun essentials for the new mom and family. See below for instructions.
Gift Cards: To local restaurants that deliver or have carry-out, for books, apps, and music. Also, a gift card to her favorite clothing store would be fun. Tell her to buy some postpartum clothes in her current size for an easier transition back to her normal size, or you can include some easy clothing items in the basket too...
button-up dress (easy for nursing) that she could throw a cardigan or jacket over. Also, if you don't feel comfortable buying clothing, slippers and/or a robe are always great.
Essential Items for a Nursing Station: Along with her lanolin and water, gel pads, lip balm, gum, and face wipes will be appreciated to keep her taken care of during the hours and hours of nursing/pumping. Also, magazines, books, or even a subscription to Netflix can make nursing/pumping more enjoyable.
Also, as I mentioned before, notes will be greatly appreciated. So even if you don't have the time or the resources to make up a basket, checking in on her with encouragement and funny notes will always be appreciated.